While the Rutgers women’s soccer team saw the Big Ten Tournament end in disappointment with a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat in overtime to Michigan last Friday, they officially lived to fight another day. It was announced on the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on Monday late afternoon that Rutgers earned a 4 seed and will host Central Connecticut State on Friday, Nov. 15 for a 7 PM match at Yurcak Field. It is the eighth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth for the program and 14th overall.
The Scarlet Knights enter this year’s NCAA postseason run with a 15-3-2 overall record and finished in second place in the Big Ten regular season with an 8-2-1 record. They defeated CCSU 2-1 in overtime on August 22nd in the season opener at Yurcak Field. The Blue Devils took an early lead in the 11th minute before Amirah Ali tied it with a penalty kick in the second half and a golden goal six minutes into overtime.
CCSU finished its season with an overall record of 12-4-4 and won its 10th Northeast Conference Championship to clinch an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament berth.
Rutgers is led by a pair of junior forwards in Nneke Moneme and Amirah Ali, who have combined to score 20 of the team’s 33 goals this season. Rutgers had six players earn All-Big Ten honors this season, with Ali earning a second consecutive All-Big Ten First Team selection this season while Moneme was named to the Second Team, along with senior defender Amanda Visco and sophomore goalkeeper Meagan McClelland. Senior midfielder Taylor Aylmer and senior defender Chantelle Swaby were named to the Third Team.
In the Big Ten semifinal loss to Michigan, three starters didn’t play in the second half due to injury. They were Nneke Moneme, Chantelle Swaby and Shea Holland. Their status for the opening round of the NCAA Tournament has not been announced as of yet.
A potential second round matchup looms against West Virginia, who knocked Rutgers out of the 2017 NCAA Tournament in overtime in the second round, or Georgetown, who knocked them out of the second round in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. A potential third round matchup versus top seed Virginia would also be interesting, as Rutgers upset the then no. 1 Cavaliers in the quarterfinals in 2015 to advance to the programs first ever College Cup.
Here is the region’s full bracket:
Five Big Ten teams qualified for the NCAA Tournament and to view the entire bracket, click here.